Category Archives: holidays

gluten-free dairy-free coconut-lime pound cake

gluten-free dairy-free coconut-lime pound cake


Behold! The most beautiful cake in the world!

Or, not. But it did taste good! I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a while — since, uh, Easter. Hence the lamb.

My mother-in-law has been eating gluten-free for a while now, and she was also avoiding dairy at the time, so I wanted to make an Easter dessert that we could all enjoy. I make a lamb-shaped pound cake every year, so this year, the lamb got the gluten-free, dairy-free treatment. (And it tasted even better than usual!)

This recipe is based on a pound cake recipe on the Land O’Lakes site, but I changed some things and it kind of became a completely different cake. A yummy cake. A beautiful cake. OK, just yummy. (At least the lamb’s head didn’t fall off.)



2 cups sugar
1 cup dairy-free butter, melted (I used Earth Balance)
4 eggs
3 teaspoons gluten-free vanilla
3 cups Gluten-Free Flour Blend (I use King Arthur’s)
2 teaspoons gluten-free baking powder
1 cup coconut milk
1 TB lime juice
zest of 1 small lime

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease pan/muffin tin and sprinkle with gluten-free flour blend. Set aside.

Combine sugar and melted butter in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla, lime juice and lime zest; beat until well mixed.

Stir together gluten-free flour blend and baking powder in small bowl. Gradually add flour blend mixture alternately with coconut milk to butter mixture, beating at low speed until well mixed.

Pour batter into prepared pan. If using bread tins, bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pan. If using muffin tins, I do not have the time amount, but I’d start checking on them somewhere around 15 minutes and every few minutes after to get the right time.



1 cup powdered sugar
2 TB lime juice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk together powdered sugar, lime juice and vanilla until smooth. Use immediately.

valentines and xo stamps

valentines and xo stamps


For Valentine’s Day, I got Chris the latest Chris Ware collection, “Building Stories.” It’s an amazing package of graphic art/comics/I don’t even know what to call it — all in different formats. We are long-time fans of Chris Ware. His work is meticulously designed, and we were pretty awe-stuck by “Building Stories” just looking through the package. Anyway, this giant book/box needed wrapping, so here’s what I did. It’s pretty self-explanatory. I always love a project that uses what I already have around.


Next, I used my valentines for Chris and the girls as an opportunity to play around with Illustrator. Though I took a class on Illustrator years ago, I am very much a novice with this software. Use it or lose it. I’ve lost it. Frankly, I was pretty pleased with myself for being able to make a heart shape with the pen tool. Baby steps.

As soon as all the girls are in elementary school, I’m hoping to finish up my half-completed degree in graphic design. I have a feeling pottery is going to require a day job, and jobs for editors (my pre-child career choice) are few and far between these days — not that graphic design is booming, but I enjoy it. When I took my typography class, we were using rub-on type. Rub-on type! Do they still do this? It’s not like we didn’t have computers then … Anyway, until I’m back in school, I’ll continue to make little projects for myself like this. Practice practice.

IMG_3584Sidenote: Check out the new button in the corner of my images. It allows you to pin the image to Pinterest, so pin away! Just be good and give credit where credit is due. Speaking of which, I got the ISLY Pinterest WordPress Widget from Melissa Esplin here. Thank you, Melissa and Chris (her husband who made the plugin).


happy valentine’s day

happy valentine’s day

IMG_3551Last weekend the girls and I worked on a giant pile of homemade valentines for their classmates. We made 73 valentines! I asked them if they wanted to use store-bought cards this year, but they picked homemade. I was thinking our days of homemade valentines were nearly over with my oldest, but her crafty instincts are strong.

This year the girls picked the printable butterfly valentines from Cindy of Skip to My Lou. I did the printing and cutting; they did the stickers and writing. I bought googly eyes that already had adhesive on them in order to avoid a glue mess. The larger eyes seemed to work better on the lollipops — they had more surface area of stickiness.

The girls were a little concerned by the butterflies’ lack of antennae or mouths, but these were quite enough for them to handle without those things! They turned out really cute

I just noticed the little note on one of these that says “Books rool.” That’s my girl.

I hope you have a good Valentine’s Day!


all the pretty lights

all the pretty lights


Our yearly Christmas drive through the city in our pajamas always yields some interesting light photos. As I was taking them, I was telling Chris that our children are going to have to dig through all sorts of this nonsense if they ever delve into my photo files after I’m gone. Bloggers have a strange collection of photos: plates of food, raindrops, craft supplies, streaking Christmas lights.

It has felt odd but necessary to continue on with our Christmas traditions this week. I have not told my children about the unthinkable tragedy in Connecticut. There is no reason those children should have had such terror visited upon them, and there is no reason my children should live in fear either. My mind is full of sympathy, grief and worry — mentally composing letters to my representatives and wondering what can be done. But my girls are oblivious and joyful. So we frost sugar cookies and roast marshmallows in the fireplace and watch the pretty lights go by.

whitetwinkles redarrowlights

marshmallow wreaths

marshmallow wreaths

We always do a craft or two as one of our advent calendar activities. Last night the girls made marshmallow wreaths. (Instructions here.) I came across these on Pinterest. (Of course — where else?)

Here’s how it went. The girls were able to complete these fairly independently, which is my main concern. So thumbs up on that count. But the instructions said you could use full-length toothpicks on a flat foam wreath. When we did this, the toothpicks were way too long, and went completely through the marshmallow by quite a lot. There was no way the girls were going to be able to partially skewer the marshmallows, so we cut the toothpicks in half. This created a ten-minute lag during which the children ate half the marshmallows. So Chris had to run out and buy more. Then while he was gone, Elise decided to roast a marshmallow on the advent candle and set it on fire.

So, stabbing! Fire! Fun holiday times!

No, really, this was a pretty good craft for the girls. I tried hanging the wreaths before setting in the refrigerator overnight, but marshmallows kept falling off. So I refrigerated them and hung them this morning. The marshmallows are still falling off. So, fingers crossed for no toothpick ingestion. Happy fun Christmas times!

holiday decorating

holiday decorating

So this is my idea of Christmas decorating: clear off two shelves and stick all the Christmas stuff on them. Done.

I have never bought many Christmas decorations besides ornaments. The only things in this photo that were chosen by me are the fabric for the pillow cover I made, the tree, and that candy cane candle up on the shelf. The rest were gifts or hand-me downs. They are all fun things, and somehow they sorta all go together. Kind of.

Sometimes I get the urge to go all color-coordinated and modern with the decorations, but I know my kids have already developed sentimental attachments to the things we have. And so have I. Maybe I’ll add in some more things once we’ve gotten past the point where every decoration is a toy. I hate to invest my time in something that will just be destroyed (you can also apply this phrase to everything in my house).

Actually, half of this stuff is probably going to be broken in ten years’ time anyway! My children will inherit a pile of sentiment-laden, glued-together holiday decor — just as it should be.

The one new thing I may add this year is a pretty centerpiece for a family dinner. Something shiny. Something not breakable. Metal maybe? Brass. That sounds sturdy.

one week from today!

one week from today!

My first sale is one week from today! And I have the sleepy eyes to prove it. I think I’ll send one more partial load into the kiln, and call it good.

We’re starting to get into the holiday season here, and my kids are begging me to put out more Christmas decorations. The decorations are coming out of the boxes at a very slow trickle. I’ll be done just in time for them to go back in the basement!

I did manage to get our advent calendar filled and on the shelf before bed last night (at uh, 2 a.m.?). I call it advent, but it’s really just a countdown calendar. The boxes are filled with either slips of paper suggesting various activities or little wooden letters that spell out *CHEERS* on top of the box. We do the same sorts of activities every year: wearing PJs to drive around and see lights, having a picnic under the Christmas tree, doing a craft project, buying gifts for children in need, giving red & green manicures, etc.

Good times, but tired mama.

watercolor gem ornaments

watercolor gem ornaments

Mere hours before we set off for Thanksgiving in Virginia, I was able to peek into the kiln and see my ornaments. I’m happy to report that my kiln is functioning as usual once again. I added some gold detail to the ornaments when we got back.

We had a busy, somewhat worrisome (some health issues for my niece), but also wonderful Thanksgiving. How was yours?

I’ll be listing these ornaments on etsy later this week. Catch me on facebook or twitter if you want to get a special friendly discount code. I’ll let you all know as soon as they are listed. Until then, here are a few more photos.